STORY OF THE SING-JAPANESE WAR 377
by the Japanese, the Poyang Lake region south of Kiukiang and the Han River basin in northern central Hupei running southward into the Tungting Lake region approximately down to Changsha in Hunan. It is inevitable that the Japanese invasion will meet with no formidable opposition within this area and as the maximum will extend about 150 miles westwards roughly to Ichang and about 300 miles southwards along the Canton-Hankow Railway roughly to Hengyang, which the Japanese will be able to occupy. The rest are mountains, where Chiang Kaishek would like to fight Japan. At Ichang on the Yangtse and following a line directly north to Hsiang-yang, the country abruptly rises to the mountains of Western Hupei, and so does Hunan south of the Tungting Lake and west of the Canton-Hankow Railway. In other words, if one takes a pencil and draws a map of Japanese occupied areas in China by the end of 1938, it will coincide exactly with the areas below the loo-metre level in the whole country of China, with the exceptions mentioned. The rest is like Shansi, where an entire Japanese division of 20,000 men was known to have been unspectacularly frittered away by guerrilla encounters to 5,000 men in four months without a single battle.
From the beginning of 1939 on, the war will change its essential character, and while Japan will be fighting a wearing-out defensive war in her occupied areas and advancing with extreme difficulty and caution in the rest of China, China will be fighting a zigzag offensive-defensive war on all fronts or without a front. There will be no Chinese concentration of three-quarter million soldiers at any one point, because the nature of the terrain will not require such concentrations, and the tremendous massed fighting power will be distributed all over the country to engage the invaders where they choose and keep them busy. Whereas in the first one and a half years of war, China was a vast territory in which Japan could choose to strike at any point and time she thought best, henceforth the extended occupied areas will present China the same opportunity to strike where and when China chooses, and on the whole, China will retain the initiative. This is going to be the character of the Chinese war of resistance.